A Dog's Tail of Love
Lessons from Walking in the Park
I’d love to share with you a little about the amazing things I’ve discovered when walking the dog. That’s him, below. Yes, I know. He looks just like me.
The main thing he’s taught me is that it’s okay to go in circles, backtrack and sniff things out again. It’s not embarrassing at all when witnesses see a grown man being led by this little white powerhouse. To the untrained eye, it may appear little Banjo is in control. But he is not. Therein lies some interesting observations.
Allow me to start by clarifying that I’m not about to call us a dog. Yet what he does is wonderful. He demonstrates how going in circles or covering the same ground more than once is actually the way forward. We are so easily pressured to rush in life, to get on with it. Time is money. Rush, rush, rush. Banjo enjoys the journey. Sometimes he is very enthusiastic to reach a particular place. It seems he doesn’t want whatever smell is calling him to disappear before he gets there. But he will stay until he’s sniffed it out, then typically, mark it. He’s not fazed by those nearby because he is fully present at that moment taking it all in. How often do we do this?
We may then walk a little further before he suddenly goes back again. Perhaps this paints a picture of what God wants to do with us. He has us in a place where we can spend time with Him, learn from Him and discover hidden truths. This relates to any part of our walk with the Lord. If we spend time in His Word for example, isn’t it a good thing to go back and sniff again? We dig deeper, wander, learn and understand more. We can mark it as our own (I am NOT suggesting pee be involved). Notice that walk is an action word. We discover and then do what we learn, that is how we mark it as our own.
By not rushing our walk with the Lord, we get all the benefits and lessons we need to go forward successfully. The Lord made us curious and wants us to seek Him and His ways, an act of love from us. I watch over Banjo to keep him safe and give verbal instructions when required. The Lord does this for us too. Banjo is on a lead so I can adjust his trajectory as needed and ensure he stops before we cross the road. God does the same for us too. If we feel him gently tugging our harness or lead, He will have a good reason. So you see how we have to go in circles before we’re ready for what’s next. How long depends but does it matter if we enjoy the journey with the Lord?
Each of us will have our own path to walk out. We may do so with others but we each occupy our own physical space and ground. Typically on a walk, we’ll traverse different surfaces; hard, soft, dirty, hilly, dry or wet. There’s something to discover in all of them.
Consequently, sometimes after our walks, Banjo needs a clean-up. There may be sticks and bits to remove from his coat or his paws may be wet or muddy. This happens because he goes off the easy path. Discovery is a messy business but that’s okay. So it is with us too, when we veer off the easy path, we pick up things we don't want, get messy and dirty. The Lord will clean us off.
Beyond the walk itself, Banjo is a manifestation of unconditional love. He lives simply, faithfully and fully. Here’s what I see him do that we could all embrace too:
Enjoy the now and what’s next
Yes, there is a path of good works the Lord has for us to do, a goal to reach. Nevertheless, it’s our day-to-day activity that gets us there.
Eat the treat
Love unconditionally and affectionately
Enjoy simple things (like playing with a cardboard roll)
Don’t worry about the next meal
Passion and excitement
Love of the outdoors - smells the roses (and many other things)
How is it a dog can get people to smile just by being himself?
Why can't we do that too? We’re made in the image of God
Love is Deeper
I know someone who rescued a beautiful one-eyed dog from the pound. She’d had a tough life. It took time of showing her love but now I can’t put into words the transformed nature of this little dog. She is unconditional in the love she gives in response to the love she gets. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus does for us and how we should respond.
Unconditional love is anchored in forgiveness. When someone does wrong, forgive them immediately, even before an apology is offered or in the absence of one. That is love. Our forgiveness protects the relationship and releases us from the issue. Maybe you can easily forgive a cute child but a teenager with that look on his face? When we do wrong, apologise quickly. Be like a dog that pursues restoration of the relationship. They seek forgiveness quickly. Love is powerful!
Sharing a Beautiful Video
The song Love Changes Everything in this video is awesome (Colin Thackery deserved his win). Since God is love, every time Colin sings the word love, I mentally replace it with God. Try it for yourself, I think it gives the song even more power.
A treadmill is fine for exercise but not for our walk with the Lord because it doesn’t take us anywhere.
Lovely to hear your reflections and revelations Troy. Well worth a ponder on a wander.